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I'm Tired of Keeping Up With the Joneses

I would love to be able to give my kids the world if I could, but it's just not possible. Lately, I've been faced with the challenge of keeping up with other parents.

It seems like almost every status update in my Facebook feed highlights a Disney vacation or some huge birthday bash. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy seeing photos of these awesome events. But at the same time, I try to shield my kids from it.

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I don't want them asking, "When are we going to Disney World?" "Where are we having my birthday party?" Granted, I can't stop children from talking about their family adventures, but my husband and I can control how we raise our kids.

Children are going to want what other kids have, that's a given. The other day our daughter came home from school and asked me to go out and buy her the same shirt the other kids in her class have.

For the record, she wears a uniform to school, and there are several different versions to choose from. It so happens that the shirt she often wears is the less popular one. "I'm wearing the wrong shirt," she said.

"No you're not," I responded. I went on to explain to her that both shirts are allowed. Apparently the kids in her class had been telling her that she wasn't dressed in the correct clothing, which upset her.

I could have easily gotten the shirt out of the drawer for her to wear the next day, but I didn't. Instead, she continued wearing the same type of blouse she'd been sporting since the first day of school. I don't want her to feel the pressure of trying to keep up with her classmates, and I certainly don't want the pressure of keeping up with their parents.

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Kids are expensive. We'd go broke trying to keep up with all the latest kids fashion and gadgets.

Rather, my husband and I focus on raising our children with a strong sense of identity. It's so important to establish some ground rules in order to feel less stressed about keeping up with the Joneses. We don't want our kids to feel as if they have to try and fit in. Instead, we teach our kids about how to become trailblazers and stand out from the crowd.

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